Can I Ask About Salary History?

Beth Dean 01.10.23

Asking about salary history may be banned in your state.

“So, tell me about your salary history at your current job.”

It’s a typical job interview question, often used by recruiters to help gauge whether the candidate would be satisfied with the salary offered at their company. Sometimes, though, the question can help them determine an amount to offer that may be lower or higher than initially planned. This practice could potentially lead to someone earning less than they’re entitled to, opening the door to pay inequality.

Similarly to the pay transparency laws, these salary history bans are made to combat pay discrimination and disparity among protected classes. 

Participating States

Here is a growing list of states that have enacted bans on asking about salary history, using that information as a factor in their rate of pay, or refusing to hire if a candidate refuses to provide that information. In addition to this list, several localities and counties have enacted their own regulations:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado’
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
Salary Negotiation Recommendations

Since many states have enacted bans on this question,  we recommend that you leave salary history off of the job application and interview process. A better question would be to ask the candidate about their salary expectations for the job they’re applying for rather than history. Providing the pay range in your company’s job posting can further help you find candidates whose expectations align with yours. 

For the latest state regulations, as well as a compliant job application, contact your HR business partner at Nextep.

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